The Ghost of You

There was once a man who walked peacefully through the woods.  He was tall and well built, as he was a forester.  Every day, he whistled cheerfully as he waltzed through the woods, his axe swung over his shoulder.

This forester was a happy man; his countenance emanated a cheerfulness which filled the hearts of everyone who caught sight of him.  He had a gorgeous wife who loved him and his children dearly.  She owned a small bakery, from which tasty delightfuls found their way to every house in town.  Together, the forester and his wife pulled in a decent amount of money to support themselves and their two beautiful children.  The forester's love for his family grew stronger with each passing day, and the people of the town learned to adore him.  Indeed, he had everything any man could ever want or need.

It was a typical day in the woods; the forester enjoyed spending quality time with his axe, hacking away at tree after tree.  On a good day, he could bring down five large trees.  His record was seven in one day.  Today was starting off pretty well; he'd gotten through his first tree without breaking a sweat.  He now set out to find the next tree, which he had marked the day before.

This was an area of the woods he was not familiar with.  The trees grew taller here, and the canopy was thicker.  The branches above him seemed to be slowly cutting off the sky, like two enormous, dark hands coming together.  After trudging through a few miles of fallen leaves, he spotted the tree.  He chuckled proudly, swinging the axe from his shoulder.

"You're all mine," he declared as he approached triumphantly.

And then the ground fell from beneath his feet.  The earth crumbled all around him, and he was falling.  He cried out in surprise and terror as he fell into a pit of blackness, his axe still in hand.  There was a tremendous splash as the forester landed in a cold pool of water.  It was not deep enough to swim in, but the water rose above the forester's hips when he regained his balance.  He had dropped his axe in the water, where it was now submerged.  The axe was the least of his troubles at this point, as he was now stuck at the bottom of a very deep, dark well.

The forester felt the walls all around him, looking frantically for a way out.  But it was futile; the well was made of solid stone, which had been laid into the earth many years ago. Instinctively, he cried for help, with all the volume his mighty lungs could muster.  When he had finally run out of breath, he remembered his axe, and groped for it under the water.  He gripped the handle firmly and pulled it from the depths of the water.  With a roar, he swung with all his might, striking the well hard.  Rock shattered and the noise of the forceful collision reverberated loudly throughout the well.  A few sparks jumped from the blade, but quickly disappeared into the dank atmosphere.

Several hours passed, and the cold water had begun to numb the forester's legs.  Light was still visible from the top of the well, which was a good thirty feet up, the forester approximated.  He could not sit, for the water was too deep to do so without submerging his head.  He had tried calling for help numerous times, but it was useless.  There wasn't a soul around for miles.  His wife would be worried sick, as would his children, and everyone else in town for that matter.  They might never find him; it could be years before anyone even discovered the old well again.

Dusk came, and was quickly followed by night.  The water around the forester turned a dark black, and his legs grew number still.  It was now that a sudden wave of hopelessness overtook him.  His heart sunk and broke as he thought about his family.  He would never see them again.  He would never kiss his wife again.  He would never hug or play with his children again.  They would all mourn him, and God knows what would happen to them without him.

Cold.  Deathly, sickening cold.  It gripped every bone of the forester's body, and crept upon the edges of his heart and soul.  It was well past midnight, and the night had brought a chill unlike any he had ever experienced.  The water magnified the effect tenfold, and he now shivered uncontrollably.  He had long ago abandoned any attempt of crying out for help, and now he stood helpless, the black water slowly consuming him with its bitter teeth.  In a cry of despair and frustration, the forester threw his arms up to the heavens.

"God! Hear me! Save me, Lord! Bring me light! Bring me warmth! I beg of you, end this suffering my Lord!"

But the only reply he received was the lapping of the black water which surrounded him. The forester let his hands down and clenched them into fists.  He grabbed his axe, which he had laid upon the wall, lest he need it again.  The forester roared with anger and despair.  He hammered at the well again and again until the muscles in his arms screamed in pain.  He grew weaker with each strike, and eventually the hammering diminished into dull thuds, which mocked the forester with each swing.  He carried on until he dropped the axe, which once again fell into the abyss of the black, sinister water which surrounded him.

The forester had no tears left to cry as he stood helpless at the bottom of the well.  His legs were beginning to collapse beneath him as he said his final prayers to the good Lord.  He prayed for his family, for his wife, his children... that they might be well off without him.  Slowly but surely, the once mighty forester sunk into the soaking darkness of the well.  The water devoured his torso, and eventually rose to meet his chin.  As he spoke his final prayers, water filled his mouth.  It did not taste like water, but like something that had been decaying for hundreds of years.  The forester made one last attempt to stand, but was pulled down by the mass of black.

He felt the water swallow him whole.  And now he was surrounded by complete and utter darkness.  The icy clutches of death now crept around his heart and permeated what was left of his soul.  In his final moments of life, the forester treasured one last memory of holding his wife and children in his arms.

The End

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